Fidel Castro

By: Abby Guimont


Since coming into power in 1959, Castro has been a hero to most cubans, to Latin American and European leftists, and to many oppressed people. But, Cuba's economic downfall in the 1990s covered up some of his accomplishments. He was born on August 13, 1926. He was born into a wealth, the son of a wealthy Spanish planter. He had a great education and studied law at the University of Havana. Castro was active in Latin American revolutionary politics throughout his youth. He excelled academically and athletically. In 1952, he represented the Orthodox Church and wanted to reduce government corruption and pursue social reform. Castro was unable to pursue is political goals legally so he organized an attack on the Moncada army barracks near Santiago. The attack was a complete disaster that led to many deaths and imprisonments. He was put on trial but used the opportunity to deliver a four-hour speech that led him to be known as a hero for turning disasters into political victories. When Batista came into power and cancelled the congressional elections, Castro organized campaigns against Batista, defeated his army, and eventually sent him into exile. He was seen as a hero for the lower class. Castro encouraged guerilla warfare. Castro's social policies were often very popular in Cuba. In 1991, Cuba experienced the wrath of economic collapse and food shortages, causing thousands to flee to southern America seeking refuge from the repressive government.


Fidel Castro - Mini Bio

video description

Above is a video that briefly, but descriptively summarizes the life and reign of Fidel Castro and his dictatorial qualities. The video describes the young economically and athletically successful life of Castro that led to his leadership of Cuba. He was seen as a role model and hero for most Cubans, especially the lower class, after he sent Batista, whom cancelled the congressional elections, into exile. But, in the 1990s, when Cuba began to experience an economic downfall, people began to question Castro's authority and fled to southern America. Castro had always been seen as a major threat to the US because they has political and economic interests in Cuba, which led to the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

letter from a Cuban citizen

March 18, 1991

Dear Diary,

Cuba had been everything I had dreamed it would be. Fidel Castro has helped lead my country to success. I take great pride in my country, and to know that we have a great leader satisfies me immensely. Batista was not the leader I had been hoping for. He cancelled the congressional elections, which led Castro into making his first real move. I participated in the campaign against Batista organized by Castro. The campaign was a success and Castro's giant army finally overthrew the army of Batista and led him into exile. Castro was a hero to me and to me he represented a sign of hope. From then on, Cuba seemed to have been becoming very successful in many ways including free medical care and abolition of illiteracy. But, it is now 1991 and Cuba is beginning to struggle economically. The Soviet Union has collapsed and we are no longer receiving aid from them. A huge drop in employment has undergone and there has been many food shortages leading to starvation. I have decided that this is not the place that I want my family to be. My family and I are leaving in the morning. We are going to flee to southern American in search for a refuge from this repressive government.

Yours truly,


Essential Question

Although Fidel Castro was once seen as a hero and a symbol of hope for his country, how was Cuba led to a complete downfall in the end?